These are my children. I would not be the man I am today without them. They have immeasurably changed my world.
They are my truest companions.
There they are. Day 1 of the service trip to Palu, Sulawesi, Indonesia, after we landed in the Palu airport. I am supervising, along with my Head of School and his wife, and the amazing Miss Erina, a group of twelve students from my school while they extend their hand to the people of Palu.
Our school has a week wherein all the students are supposed to be working in some sort of service. My students are in Palu, working in a Primary school, two childrens’ homes (not orphanages, because not all of the children are orphans – some live in the home because their parents can’t afford to keep them, but they still have parents), an “agro bisnis”, and a school of 2000 students. All of these places are run by the Salvation Army here in Palu.
I need to clarify one major point here: it is a service week, and my students are working here, but the week is really about exposing the students to a part of their world that is unfamiliar to them. In a very real sense, my students are aware that the world does not live as they do – they are well off, they attend a private international school, they have drivers and helpers – but many of them have never experienced the world that is not like theirs. So…we are offering them an opportunity to make a connection, a personal connection, with that world. Today they met the primary school children and my students were overwhelmed by these children and their love and generosity and attention and beauty and energy. As we debriefed the day, my students couldn’t help but gush about how the day went.
Tomorrow is day three, and it looks like this trip might be life-changing, and life-affirming.
The building you see behind them, by the way, is not the Palu airport. That is the future Palu airport. The current one rivals landing next to an auction house in which everyone smokes and people jockey for your luggage as soon as you have it in your hand. Good times.
This year has been momentous. I have watched as my family and I have adapted to our move from Chilliwack, British Columbia, Canada, to Jakarta, Indonesia. I moved from teaching in a public school to an international, private school. I moved from one of the most beautiful places in the world (nah…it is the most beautiful) to a place I haven’t figured out yet. I moved from mountains and rivers to busy streets and overpopulation. I moved from ease and comfort (with a bit of financial challenge) to a place of challenge.
2012…the year of the move.
There are two seasons in Jakarta, maybe in all of Indonesia: hot and sunny(ish – it’s not always easy to tell with the smog), and hot and rainy. The rainy season is a bit of a debate – most people have their own definition of the rainy season: oh, it’s from November to January…no, it’s from October to December…no, wait, it’s from December to March. Then, wait, it’s from March to April. No one seems to know. The consensus right now is that we’re in the rainy season. This is what the sky looks like after it rains.
Yes,it’s full colour. Yes, it looks like it’s been shoved through a filter. Not, it hasn’t been.
I’m three weeks away from leaving the country. Three weeks less a day, actually. It seems a little surreal, actually, that I will no longer drive home past this.
There were two inspirations for this: one, this is what home looks like. I love where I live and I don’t want to forget it. Two, we said good-bye to my wife’s family this last weekend and my brother-in-law paid me a great compliment – he said, “I miss your photos.” That’s it, but I love approval, so…thanks Ryan. I appreciate the nice words.
Oh, and for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about when I write “leaving the country”, I’m moving to Jakarta, Indonesia for two years. My whole family is. Cool, but it’s getting really close now.